NCUB Plans to Form Parallel Government in 2009
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NCUB Plans to Form Parallel Government in 2009

By WAI MOE Tuesday, January 6, 2009


The National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB), an umbrella organization of Burmese opposition groups, announced on January 1 that it will found a parallel government as part of its action plan for 2009.

In a special New Year statement, the NCUB said that it would establish a “National Unity Government” and “National Unity Parliament” to counter plans by Burma’s ruling military regime to hold an undemocratic election in 2010.

“As a tactic to challenge the junta’s legitimacy, we will form a parallel government,” Nyo Ohn Myint, a member of the NCUB’s Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Irrawaddy on Monday.

He added that plans to create a new government would go into effect after a forthcoming conference of the Members of Parliament Union (MPU), a group consisting of MPs elected in Burma’s last election in 1990. The MPU’s annual conference is scheduled to take place on January 19 in Dublin, Ireland.

Nyo Ohn Myint added that the parallel government will include both elected MPs and representatives of ethnic groups who have their own territories and armies.

The NCUB statement has excited controversy among Burmese exiles, many of whom question the value of forming a new parallel government when the democratic opposition already has a government in exile, the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB).

The NCGUB was formed by exiled MPs elected in 1990 and is led by Dr Sein Win, the cousin of Burma’s detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Founded in December 1990 in Manerplaw, the former headquarters of the Karen National Union, the NCGUB now operates out of Washington, DC.

Nyo Ohn Myint denied that the new National Unity Government would function in the same manner as the NCGUB, saying that it would not merely consist of a prime minister and five cabinet ministers like the NCGUB.

He also questioned the NCGUB’s leadership because of its failure to cooperate with the NCUB’s efforts to challenge the Burmese junta’s seat at the United Nations.

Responding to criticism about its effectiveness, the NCGUB accused the NCUB leadership of embarking on a meaningless campaign without any attempt to form a consensus among members of the umbrella group.

Khun Marko Ban, the NCGUB’s federal affairs minister and a member of the MPU, said that the NCUB’s secretary-general, Maung Maung, did not even inform all concerned parties before issuing the New Year statement.

“Even though I am an executive member of the NCUB, I knew nothing about the statement until after it was released,” said Khun Marko Ban, who is also President 3 of the NCUB.

“We need to respect the organization’s consensus principle and ensure that this does not happen again,” he added.

The NCUB was formed in September 1992 by four organizations: the MPU, the ethnic-based Democratic Alliance of Burma, the National Democratic Front, and the National League for Democracy (Liberated Area).

Khun Marko Ban said that at its last conference in February 2008, the MPU initiated reforms that would make the NCGUB more proactive in the future. The MPU, which elects the NCGUB’s cabinet, will choose a new lineup at the conference in Dublin, he added.

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